Emma Watson participates in live Facebook conversation on HeForShe campaign
Earlier today, Emma Watson took part in a live Facebook conversation with BBC Radio 1 presenter Greg James to discuss her ongoing HeForShe campaign. As part of International Women’s Day, Emma took time to discuss her previous appearance at the United Nations in September and reflected on the threats that she received afterward:
There was a website set up that was threatening to release naked images of me, with a countdown and whatever else… I knew it was a hoax. I knew the pictures didn’t exist.
It was later exposed that the website was set up as part of a campaign for a marketing and PR company. Emma also discussed how the hoax affected her family:
When they saw that the minute I stepped up and talked about women’s rights I was immediately threatened, I think they were really shocked, and one of my brothers in particular was very upset.
Additionally, Emma expressed how overwhelmed she has been by the male support that the HeForShe campaign has received. She emphasized the importance of getting more men to sign up for the HeForShe campaign through its website, as well as the importance of getting other women to join in the cause and support one another.
Discussing how her brother feels about gender equality, Emma explained that he had shared with her that he finds it very difficult to be around his male friends because of the way in which they speak about women. On the topic of male gender equality, Emma said,
We don’t acknowledge how much pressure we put on men to conform to a certain perception of masculinity.
During the interview, Greg asked Emma whom she felt was the most influential woman in her life. Emma replied that it was her mother, saying,
She was a single working mother and is also a Type 1 diabetic. So seeing her strength and resilience growing up was really inspiring.
I think – particularly in my teenage years when I was feeling insecure and confused about what my purpose was – she really instilled in me that what I was thinking and what I was doing and what I was saying were ultimately infinitely more important than my physical appearance.
Greg also shared that the men backing the HeForShe campaign are from all around the globe. He asked Emma how she felt about gender equality in the developing world, to which Emma said,
Women have so much to offer… so much potential just gets wasted because girls aren’t encouraged the same way men are. We could achieve so much.
On the power of social media, Emma highlighted the story of a girl who had contacted her for advice via Twitter, after her father had told her that she could not be an engineer because of her gender. Emma replied to the girl by telling her to go be an engineer. She said that, within a few hours, several engineering academies had contacted the girl and offered her their help. As for what she would tell someone who was told they couldn’t do something because of their gender? Emma said,
Don’t let anyone tell what you can and cannot be or can or cannot achieve. Just don’t allow it. Be what you want to be!
In response to an audience question regarding gender equality in the film industry, Emma said,
There is a big problem in the film industry. Currently, females comprise 7% of directors, 19.7% of writers, 2.2% of producers, and 13% of executives […] in the film industry. It is a huge problem that needs to be addressed.
Emma also urged men to stand up for women in the workplace by ensuring that women receive the same wages as their male counterparts. She encouraged all male employers to look into how much they are paying their female employees and to make sure it is equal.
Emma also talked about her hopes how the HeForShe campaign will affect the LGBT community:
I hope the LGBT community does feel included and does feel that this is their movement because it is. It definitely is!
During the interview, Emma took time to express how the HeForShe campaign is also supporting gender equality for men, in its acknowledgement that men also need support and by offering them a safe space to discuss discrimination that they have faced.
To finish the interview, Greg asked Emma if she believes it is possible to achieve gender equality in her lifetime. Emma replied,
At current rates, no. I think I will probably be dead, but I think I might just refuse to die! You’re not going to get rid of me until I see an equal number of female presidents and prime ministers, CEOs, […] more men [who] actually feel like it’s okay to express how they really feel about things, and fathers [who] are present in their children’s lives. Until I see us not policing, ostracizing, and oppressing each other, and we live in a world where there isn’t such a narrowly redefined definition of masculinity and femininity… I’m just not going to go!
You can watch Emma Watson’s full conversation with Greg James below!
If you have yet to commit to the HeForShe campaign, you can do so here. Did you watch the live conversation with Emma? Let us know what you thought in the comments!